After reading the Feb. 19 article “Professors unite against concealed carry,” about how opposed the faculty at Baylor is to concealed carry, I felt a rebuttal was called for, and some misconceptions need to be corrected.
After all, isn’t proper academic rigor focused on objectively evaluating facts, not making decisions based on mere emotion?
First, a simple correction: The bill introduced by Sen. Birdwell was Sen. Bill 182, not 128. That’s an understandable typo, but it did make it more difficult to get the facts of what is being proposed.
Starting with the bill as it reads now, there is complete freedom for Baylor (as a private institution of higher learning) to prohibit carry.
Silly though it may be to trumpet the exercise of one right while restricting another, Baylor is private property and liberty demands that the university has the right to refuse.
Now, to dispel some misconceptions about how much life would change were Baylor to allow concealed carry. As Dr. Blake Burleson, senior lecturer in the religion department and Dr. Robin Wallace, musicology professor, were quoted in the article, I feel some of their comments in particular should be responded to.
The implication in the first reason given by Dr. Burleson is honestly insulting. To imply that free exchange of ideas would be impaired by allowing students and faculty to carry is to imply that someone is right now only one heated exchange of words away from a rampage, and the only thing preventing them from unleashing horror is that they don’t have a firearm right that second.
If there is someone in a classroom who is that unstable, then take action now. They need help.
Secondly, the entire point of concealed carry is that the firearm is concealed. Many a day have I walked through Walmart, a movie theater or innumerable other public places while carrying a firearm. How many people were aware of this?
Granted, some wardrobe adjustments must be made, but Dr. Burleson could be standing next to someone with a CHL at any gas station and never know it.
As to Wallace’s comment regarding a safe environment; no, you don’t create a safe environment by denying concealed carry. You instead create the illusion of one. I have been a teacher, so I understand he means an environment where students will actually engage with the material being taught, and not feel as though they are being judged negatively for the ideas they bring to the discussion.
Unfortunately, that is a sort of mental safety which is irrelevant to the discussion. The practice of carrying a concealed firearm creates a real, physical safe environment. And again, the very nature of a concealed firearm means there will be no impact on the environment in his classroom, except for the off chance that a student will be able to prevent a tragedy when the illusion of safety is physically intruded upon.
Finally, to address Baylor Police Chief Doak’s sentiments. His concern is a valid one, but not particularly powerful. I spent almost 10 years in the U.S. Army as an infantryman where I deployed twice to Iraq and engaged in heavy combat. The chief expresses concern that his officers would have trouble differentiating between an active shooter and a student who is trying to defend themselves and their classmates.
That would be a tricky one.
I have fought in cities in Iraq, where insurgents look just like everyone else, where there are women and children crowding the streets, but the enemy may open fire at any moment.
The truly sad part of the chief’s argument is that the fact that his officers might have to train harder and learn to exercise proper target identification is a meek excuse.
One would think that active shooter exercises would be common training for university police, and that a chief who had doubts about his officers’ competence to properly respond would encourage students to take an active part in their own defense.
I somehow doubt the Waco Fire Department would discourage people from utilizing fire extinguishers, and instead encourage people to just let things burn until the fire trucks get there.
Cole Combs is a graduate student in the Baylor School of Law and a U.S. Army veteran. He is a guest contributor for the Lariat.